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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: Gov. Pritzker Recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month, Underscores Commitment to Improve DCFS

Community

By Press release submission | Apr 5, 2019


Illinois Governor's Office issued the following announcement on April 3.

At an event to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month, Gov. JB Pritzker underscored his commitment to improve the Department of Children and Family Services.

 

Last week, the governor nominated Marc Smith to lead DCFS and launched an independent and comprehensive review of the agency which will produce initial actionable recommendations in the next six weeks. For more information, click here.

 

The following are an excerpt of the governor's remarks:

 

I am here today because keeping our most vulnerable children safe is a huge priority for me personally and for the state of Illinois.

 

We know there are real challenges here. DCFS has been under-resourced and overworked for years. And across the board, Illinois' social services have been hollowed out. The state agencies and the organizations on the ground that help keep our families together and strong have been decimated.

 

My administration is going to rebuild that infrastructure. It won't happen overnight. Much of what we're up against is entrenched and has gone on for far too long. The work ahead will be hard and we will face our fair share of setbacks.

 

But I draw strength from the dedicated caseworkers and child protection professionals who do this work day in and day out.

 

These are the people who have felt the pain of losing a child in their care, who feel the grief and the outrage that we all feel when we hear that news.

 

But, despite the sorrow, they come back to work the next day. They rededicate themselves to protecting our children and families. They work even harder to do right by our most vulnerable.

 

Since taking office, I've had the opportunity to sit down and listen to our DCFS caseworkers in Springfield and Chicago.

 

I've seen and heard and felt firsthand their dedication to this work, and I've asked for their ideas to move us forward.

 

I want to be clear, this administration stands with them and together we stand and fight for vulnerable children and families in every corner of this state.

 

Last week, I was proud to announce Marc Smith as our new director of DCFS. Marc brings decades of experience to this work including as a former DCFS case manager, investigator and supervisor.

 

I also announced an independent and comprehensive review of our Intact Family Services effort, with initial recommendations for reform due in the next six weeks.

 

We know one of the challenges from the outset and that's caseloads. We need more caseworkers and my proposed budget begins to do just that, adding an additional 126 frontline staff.

 

It also invests in the technology our caseworkers need to do their critical work.

 

This is a start, but a great deal of work remains, and I am deeply committed to getting this right.

 

Protecting our most vulnerable, keeping children healthy and safe, and getting all of our families on a healthy path will be a guiding mission of this administration.

 

Nothing is more important.

Original source can be found here.

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